Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Uptown Girl and Drawing


She's not Christie Brinkley but you know she's not "La Chica de Granja" either. She's "Uptown Girl" (or whoever you want her to be).

Some people think of drawing as just a hobby. but for me portrait drawing is not a pastime, although it's a great way to pass the time. It takes some concentration and effort to capture a subject's likeness. It's not by chance. There's no "big bang" magic happening here. That's what she said. 

I have a sketch book full of ideas for future paintings and I keep myself challenged with commission work. I find drawing hair to be relaxing, almost like meditation. This is why you've never seen me draw Pitbull, although maybe I will now, just to spice things up.



I started working with graphite and colored pencils in 2007 because I felt it would help me paint better and I like the control I have with a pencil. I once took a self portrait painting class where beginners' money was welcome, not the beginner so much, and I only learned one thing in that class...I must know how to draw before I pick up a brush again.



Now I like how I can take the medium anywhere and not have to worry about drying time or clean up and I love the results. With Derwent Inktense and Faber Castell Polychromos pencils I can get a vibrant, paint-like quality if I want by using a solvent, such as OMS, for blending. I also find Derwent Coloursoft pencils to be soft and smooth and work well for portraits.



While working at the ALF, I enjoyed showing the ladies my process for drawing portraits. I believe no one is too old to learn something new.



I encouraged those that were willing to try a hand at it.



I bought them sketch books and pencils, but not everyone was able to participate. Those that wouldn't or couldn't loved to watch. They got a kick out seeing a recognizable face come out of a blank page.



Although everybody loves Lucy, I think Celia was their favorite.



¡Azúcar!

Speaking of sugar, it's time for a cafecito. Until next time...xo

Friday, May 22, 2015

Keeping It Real



Yesterday I sat in front of Starbucks on the circle for a morning iced coffee and thought, I could spend the rest of my days here if things were different.




I remember working for the Gazette across the street (when their offices were still in Doral, before the fire), being the Customer Service girl and fan club coordinator for the Miami Dolphins football team. I got to know a good group of people that I still call friends, local folks who stopped by to pay for their ads, and some unforgettable DolFans.

One time a guy at a training camp event asked me to autograph his calendar. He wanted me to sign beneath a particular cheerleader who was probably around 22 and looked nothing like me (I was 40 at the time). When I told him I wasn't the woman in the photo, he argued and stormed off calling me a bitch. Good times.

I looked at the grass around the gazebo and thought of the annual three-day festival or what I liked to call "our own little version of Woodstock, minus the sex and drugs." My kids and I would spend most of those days walking around the circle, hanging out with friends in the grass, getting rained on while listening to old time rock 'n roll and munching on heavily buttered corn on the cob sprinkled with hot sauce.

I thought of the karaoke gang. We went from the Country Club to The Loft to good 'ol Holleman's, which is now Sabores, a Cuban restaurant...because you can never have too many Cuban restaurants in Miami.

I saw one of the guys from the Methodist church entering Johnny's, the diner in the old pharmacy, and he made me think of the first time I invited one of the members of the church, an older lady, over for dinner after one of the hurricanes of 2005 had left her home powerless. I asked if she wanted some wine and she looked at me as if I'd offered her crack. She said, "Methodists don't drink alcohol." I asked her what Methodists had to say about Jesus' first miracle and she started paraphrasing other parts of the Bible trying to make a point. I didn't argue, just listened...as I poured myself a second glass of Merlot. ;)

After listening to a particular Christian song, I realized I would never be an obvious Christian, and that no matter where I go, whether I fit in or not, I would keep on keeping it real.

The above portrait was inspired by the song, "Stained Glass Masquerade," by Casting Crowns. Click on the link and have a listen, if you have time, and tell me what you think. (Btw, I'm linking this post to Paint Party Friday.)

PS - Here's a kitchen update. A new fridge will be going where the cabinet is, right under the wine rack. Can't wait to get it done! Have yourself a merry little weekend! xo

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Crow Baby and Merlot Walls

Here a Sunday Sketch inspired by Stacy of Magic Love Crow. I call it "Crow Baby," since she's a crow fan and creates those fantastic little whimsical paintings we all know and love (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, pop in here and check them out). I'm the proud owner of two.



In preparation for putting our house on the market, I've been sanding and painting the kitchen and it's been hard work; trying to get the wall color to match my hair was not easy.  The shade you see here is called Merlot...which reminds me, I need to head to Milam's Market for a nice bottle after a week of this.



Here's what my kitchen looks like at the moment. Inviting, isn't it? Want to stop by for some liver, fava beans and a nice Merlot?



Today we start putting the floor down, but it will be in spurts as we go back and forth from Miami to Tampa.

Life is about to get interesting.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mothers

You know what they say, "Good moms let you lick the beaters. Great moms turn them off first." For my Sunday Sketch, I'm sharing a drawing of my mom (as a teen) I did a few years ago.



HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to you lovely ladies out there...whether you have children or pets or both or have cared for one of these as your own, today we celebrate YOU! ♥

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Poison Ivy



No, I haven't been out in the wilderness playing with plants, it's just the name of my newest Sunday Sketch...inspired by a Miami bad girl.

Btw, I was thinking of doing a "Scarlet" series. Remember her? 

Now that I'll be leaving Miami, I wanted to sketch some of my most memorable moments using old photos and a vivid imagination. As Scarlet would say, "bare" with me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Drawing and Packing

High school friend's mother, Faith, in colored pencil

I've been working on custom portraits this month while traveling to the west cost of Florida for my son's hockey tryouts, sanding the walls at home for painting, and packing everything fragile in boxes. Can you believe I still own Corningware?



The plan is to move to the Bay area this summer, Tampa not San Francisco, although I wouldn't mind visiting the other west coast if the opportunity presents itself.

I'm looking forward to a new adventure, places to explore, people to meet, and all those beautiful beaches; however, there is so much to miss about day-to-day Miami, including my folks, all the friends I've come to know and love, and the culture, like no other on the planet...not to mention the little shots of espresso.


My father and I at Havana Harry's Restaurant

For now I'll take one day at a time appreciating what I have while I have it, knowing in the future I'll only be a few hours away from what I've been calling home for the past 28 years.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ch-Ch-Changes

"Bianca" in graphite and a touch of colored pencil

A good friend and I were chatting the other day about all the good times we've had and how we'll miss them. I was telling her that the best of times can never be recreated but we can always make new memories. This is why I'm a firm believer in living in the moment, soaking every good thing in, because it's possible we "shall not pass this way again." Life keeps moving and people and places change but good friends will always find a way to stay connected, especially with social media and cell phones...planes, trains, cigarette boats and automobiles.

New things will be coming my way and I will share more when I know more.

Btw, if you are interested in an 8" X 10" custom graphite/colored pencil portrait of yourself or a loved one (this includes pets and celebrities), please e-mail me at ilyzu1216@yahoo.com. I'm running a special for the month of April. Thanks and have a great one! xo